It was a winter full of mock drafts for the Pitcher List staff. That included a prospects-only dynasty mock for 12 brave souls. 300 prospect-eligible players were snatched up, and each of the writers are here to tell you the reasoning behind their picks, why you should consider them in dynasty leagues, and for some of them, possibly even redraft leagues as well.
Prospect-only drafts are rather unique, and therefore the strategy behind them is less defined. Some people like to go for a roster full of players close to the big leagues, while others target younger players with higher upside but more risk. I personally went for a best player available approach, giving me a team with a healthy mix of 2019 big leaguers and teenagers who are a few years away but have a ton of upside.
Without further ado, here are the 25 players I selected, plus a small write-up of why I believe they could hold value in dynasty formats and eventually in redraft leagues — some sooner than others.
Round 1 (Pick 11): Alex Kirilloff, OF, MIN
I picked near the end of the first round snake, which gave me a good opportunity to snag two position players I love. I am a firm believer in TINSTAAPP, the idea that “There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.” Pitching prospects tend to bust at a high rate, usually because of injury or ineffectiveness. Hitting prospects are generally safer, particularly in dynasty formats.
As such, I went with position players for my first three picks, starting with dynamic Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff. Kirilloff absolutely dominated last season between Single-A and High-A, blasting 20 home runs and slashing .348/.392/.578. He has all the makings of a future star and should be on all dynasty radars. I wouldn’t expect to see him in the big leagues until 2020 at the earliest, but he’s a must-own once he’s there.
Round 2 (Pick 14): Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL
I assumed when I snagged Kirilloff that Keston Hiura wouldn’t make it around the bend, but I was pleasantly surprised to get him as my second pick. Another future middle-of-the-order basher, Hiura hit 13 home runs and swiped 15 bases last season, and then went ahead and won the MVP award in the Arizona Fall League.
Defense will be an issue for the second baseman, but as long as he is in the lineup, he will be a fantasy superstar. I believe he is the second- or third-most surefire player at the plate who is still in the minor leagues, and I’m happy to get him at No. 14.
Round 3 (Pick 35): Joey Bart, C, SFG
Catching prospects aren’t quite as volatile as pitchers, but it’s nice to grab one who looks the part of a future big leaguer. Joey Bart may never be a superstar, but he has a very high floor and seems destined to take the reigns from Buster Posey sooner rather than later. After going second overall in the 2018 MLB Draft, Bart hit .298 with 13 home runs and a 166 wRC+ in short-season ball.
While most advanced college hitters do well in short-season, Bart’s tools behind the dish and raw power give him an excellent chance of being a fantasy contributor at the catcher position — and I’ll happily grab that in round three.
Round 4 (Pick 38): Touki Toussaint, RHP, ATL
Touki Toussaint may have been a bit of a reach in the fourth round, particularly because his profile screams future bullpen piece. Still, I love his slider and his split-finger, and if he can up the numbers on his heater, he could easily survive as a middle-of-the-rotation arm. If not, he becomes a very, very solid bullpen arm with future closer potential.
Walks are the big issue here, with a 6.52 BB/9 in his 29 big league innings last season. There are a lot of adjustments Toussaint needs to make, and in a crowded Atlanta rotation, this could mean more time in Triple-A or in the pen. I’m still willing to take the gamble though.
Round 5 (Pick 59): Hunter Greene, RHP, CIN
Hunter Greene‘s 4.48 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 18 starts at Single-A are a little alarming, especially for a former second overall pick. However, Greene is only 19 years old, and the rest of his numbers are much more palatable: 11.72 K/9, 3.03 BB/9 and a 3.29 FIP.
Armed with a 100-plus mph fastball and a 50-grade slider, along with a potential plus changeup and rapidly improving command, I see Greene as a potential top of the rotation ace down the line. Many people see the heater and the command and assume he will be a future closer, but I feel like the other secondaries will catch up enough to make him an ace. I’ll take that at No. 59.
Round 6 (Pick 62): Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA
At one point the favorite to go 1.1 in the 2018 draft, Jarred Kelenic slipped to No. 6 overall and followed that up by absolutely crushing the ball at the rookie level, slashing .286/.371/.468 with six home runs and 15 steals. It’s not uncommon for college bats to dominate the lower levels of the minors — but when someone does it at 18 like Kelenic did, it is worth noting.
He came over to Seattle in the big Edwin Diaz/Robinson Cano trade and is now poised to roam center field for the Mariners for years to come, starting in 2022 or so. He’s a great pickup in dynasty leagues and ranks right around the top 50 for prospects, making him a nice get at No. 62.
Round 7 (Pick 83): Matt Manning, RHP, DET
I know I made a big thing about TINSTAAPP earlier, so it’s probably surprising to see me grab a third arm in the first seven rounds. But Matt Manning has great size, proven durability and an enticing four-pitch mix which make him a great candidate to be a future No. 2/3 starter in the show.
Manning already has a plus fastball and a plus curveball, and he took massive strides to improve his command and sequencing last year in West Michigan. The changeup is the big question mark right now, but most see a No. 2 starter if he can get more consistency out of that offering.
Now, back to the bats.
Round 8 (Pick 86): Jahmai Jones, 2B/OF, LAA
After playing the outfield exclusively since he was drafted in 2015, the Angels moved Jahmai Jones back to second base last season. The experiment went well from a defensive standpoint, but it did impact Jones a bit at the plate. Still, his raw power is evident in his swing, and he absolutely has the potential to be a 20/15 threat in the big leagues down the line. At second base, that’s huge fantasy value.
Jones will likely start out in Double-A this season, and a September call-up isn’t out of the question if he can get his hitting back on track.
Round 9 (Pick 107): Christin Stewart, LF, DET
The epitome of a three-true-outcomes hitter, Stewart showed great improvement by cutting down his strikeouts and improving his walk rate this past season in the minor leagues. That led to a promotion, after which he hit .267/.375/.417 with a pair of home runs in 17 games in his first taste of the big leagues.
Stewart will not contribute in the field at all, but his willingness to take a walk and his impressive power make him a nice fantasy piece not just in the future but in 2019 as well. Dynasty leagues should be all over this potential 30-homer bat, and redraft leagues should target him in the late rounds this season.
Round 10 (Pick 110): Jazz Chisholm, SS, AZ
Jazz Chisholm came in at No. 60 overall on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects after a monstrous 2018 season. Chisholm blasted 25 home runs this past season, leading all shortstops in the minor leagues. He hit 10 home runs in High-A ball as a 20-year-old, with a .329 average.
After following up that with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League, Chisholm has elevated his stock considerably heading into 2019. A shortstop with the raw power and feel for hitting that Chisholm has is very rare, making him a very valuable dynasty draft target.
Round 11 (Pick 131): Hudson Potts, 3B, SDP
I’ve done three different prospect-related mock drafts this winter, and every time, I’ve ended up with Hudson Potts, a power-hitting third base prospect in a loaded San Diego farm system. Because he is not even a top-10 prospect in his own system, many people are forgetting about Potts, who is a borderline top-100 prospect in my opinion after he blasted 19 home runs this past year with a .194 ISO and a 112 wRC+. That’s coming off a 20-homer season in 2017, proof that the power is very real.
Strikeout issues are definitely a concern, but a few mechanical adjustments should allow him to make more contact without sacrificing too much in the power department. At just 20 years old, there’s plenty of room to grow for Potts, who could easily blast 25 home runs per year in the show.
Round 12 (Pick 134): Griffin Canning, RHP, LAA
Griffin Canning‘s first pro season saw the former UCLA arm jump all the way up to Triple-A. He only posted a 5.49 ERA at that level, but his dominance at Double-A (1.97 ERA, 9.66 K/9) in his first professional season is definitely noteworthy, which is why he comes in at No. 63 overall on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100.
Canning has a very solid four-pitch mix, with each having the potential to be at least average at the big league level. His curveball and slider have both flashed plus, giving him the ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter. He still has some work to do, but he could be in the big leagues as a late-season call-up in 2019 if all goes well next season.
Round 13 (Pick 155): Pavin Smith, 1B, AZ
The industry seems rather split on former fourth overall pick Pavin Smith. He was one of the most advanced college bats in the past decade or so when Arizona made him the fourth overall pick out of Virginia, where he hit more home runs than he had strikeouts in his illustrious college career.
While the plate discipline has stayed with him in his professional career, the power has not shown up yet, which has many concerned that he won’t be any more than a platoon bat at first base — where he is a solid defender — or in the corner outfield.
Smith hit 11 home runs with a .137 ISO this past season at High-A, along with a 101 wRC+, a 11.3% walk rate and a 12.9% strikeout rate. I think the power is there and coming, which could make him a low-end regular a la Logan Morrison or Justin Smoak. If the power never shows up, he’s still a quality platoon bat with good defense and a contact-oriented approach at the plate. In Round 13, I’ll gamble on the power showing up.
Round 14 (Pick 158): Austin Beck, OF, OAK
Austin Beck fell out of favor on a lot of prospect lists after only hitting two home runs in more than 500 plate appearances this past season at Single-A. However, his drop in power was because of a mechanical change the A’s installed that focused on eliminating strikeouts in favor of a more contact-oriented approach, with the intention all along to reintroduce a leg kick later to give him more power.
The change worked as Beck lowered his strikeout numbers dramatically, helping him post a .296 average and a 103 wRC+. A future plus defender in center field, Beck’s dynasty profile depends on that power coming back while maintaining his more contact-oriented approach. If that all falls together, Beck could be a very, very nice addition in Round 14.
Round 15 (Pick 179): Blake Rutherford, OF, CWS
Blake Rutherford commanded the largest signing bonus in Yankees history when they snagged him in the first round back in 2016. Now with Chicago, Rutherford is a high-floor outfield prospect who doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well but has the ability to be average across the board.
He hit seven home runs and swiped 15 bases last year in High-A ball, with a .293 average and a 120 wRC+. He looks the part of a future left fielder but has strong numbers against both left- and right-handers, likely eliminating the need to be platooned.
Once a top-50 or so prospect, Rutherford has fallen slightly out of favor in some circles. Still, he looks every bit the part of a solid big league regular, which is worthy of a Round 15 pick any day of the week.
Round 16 (Pick 182): Brice Turang, SS, MIL
Brice Turang was considered a potential top-five pick the winter before the 2018 MLB Draft, but a slightly slow spring dropped him to No. 21 overall, where the Brewers snagged him. He is more of a high-floor prospect but has enough power and speed to make an impact in the big leagues. Plus, his glove already looks the part of a big league shortstop.
It’s hard to find prospects who are almost certainly going to be big league regulars at a key position such as shortstop, which is why I’m happy to snatch up Turang at No. 182. If he can grow into his power without sacrificing too much speed and defense, he has outstanding potential.
Round 17 (Pick 203): Justin Dunn, RHP, SEA
Justin Dunn checked in at No. 91 on MLB’s top-100 list. He, like Kelenic, came over to the Mariners from the Mets in the Cano/Diaz trade. He posted a very strong season in 2018, using a 60-grade fastball and a 55-grade slider to flummox hitters, posting a 156:52 K/BB ratio across High-A and Double-A.
Dunn has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter, although inconsistent strike-throwing does make him a potential bullpen risk. Still, I’m happy to snag him at No. 203.
Round 18 (Pick 206): Miguel Amaya, C, CHC
Miguel Amaya made some dramatic changes between 2017 and 2018, doubling his walk rate to 10.4% and showing a tremendous power surge, blasting 12 home runs with a .147 ISO, .37 points higher than the previous year. He now looks the part of a power-hitting, good defensive backstop — and he’s just 19 years old.
There’s still a lot of growth potential here, but Amaya absolutely has the tools to be an above-average, potentially even All-Star level catcher in the big leagues. Having him and Bart gives me the best catching combination in this draft and a very safe bet to have elite production at that position for years to come.
Round 19 (Pick 227) : Beau Burrows, RHP, DET
In Round 19, I’m just looking for one or two solid traits that point to a future as a big league regular. Beau Burrows has that and more, with a mid-90s fastball, a solid build and a repeatable delivery that points to a future as a mid-rotation starter. He has a plus curveball but is fringey with his changeup and his slider/cutter.
The results weren’t really there for Burrows last season, as the 22-year-old right-hander posted a 4.10 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 26 starts at Double-A. Still, his command, build, and durability point to a future big leaguer with a ceiling as a No. 3 starter. I’ll take the gamble in Round 19, knowing that at worst case I have myself a late-inning reliever where that FB/CB combo can play up nicely.
Round 20 (Pick 230): Matt Thaiss, 1B, LAA
Ever since he was taken in the first round back in 2016, the Angels have been waiting for Matt Thaiss to hit for more power. That finally happened this past year, when he blasted 16 home runs between High-A and Double-A while tacking on eight steals and a tidy .280/.335/.467 slash line.
Thaiss may never be a star first baseman, but comparisons to Mitch Moreland seem to be right on the head. And although his walk numbers dropped a bit last year, his approach at the plate should make him a high-OBP hitter with decent pop and a good feel for the barrel. Thaiss should see at least a glimpse of the big leagues in 2019 and is worth monitoring in AL-only leagues.
Round 21 (Pick 251): Wenceel Perez, SS, DET
Wenceel Perez was a complete unknown before this past season, when he tore the Gulf Coast League apart, hitting .383 before getting promoted and hitting .309 at Single-A. At just 19, Perez is rapidly becoming a hot commodity in prospect circles. He has the glove to stick at shortstop and a compact, slap-heavy swing that should allow him to hit for a high average.
His lack of power is the big issue, but even if he never hits home runs, he has the tools to be a high-average shortstop in the bigs. It may not happen any time soon, but in the meantime, he will be sliding up prospect lists.
Round 22 (Pick 254): Jimmy Sherfy, RHP, AZ
It’s hard to call Jimmy Sherfy, a 27-year-old who appeared in the big leagues in both 2017 and 2018, a prospect. However, he has only thrown 27.0 innings, keeping him under the prospect threshold. In those 27 innings, Sherfy has a 1.00 ERA and an 8.67 K/9, albeit with a 4.00 BB/9 and a 4.03 SIERA.
Still, the flame-thrower has had a ton of success in Triple-A with his hard fastball and dynamic breaking ball, giving him all the tools to be a successful setup man or potentially closer in the show. He is the University of Oregon’s all-time leader in saves and racked up 65 in the past two years, so he’s no stranger to the ninth inning.
Drafting relief prospects is always a challenge in dynasty formats, but I feel good about snagging Sherfy in the later rounds.
Round 23 (Pick 275): Logan Gilbert, RHP, SEA
At this point in any draft, you’re looking for upside. That is particularly true in a prospects-only draft, where all the surefire players are long gone. I took a chance on the Mariners 2018 first round pick, a big right-hander named Logan Gilbert.
Gilbert has not pitched professionally but absolutely tore through the Atlantic Sun Conference and the Cape Cod league in the past year. He gets his fastball up to 97 for a plus offering and has a curveball and a changeup that both have the potential to be plus offerings as well. Whether he ends up reaching his ceiling as a mid-rotation starter depends on if he can turn both those pitches into usable major league offerings. If he cannot, he becomes a very useful middle reliever/setup man.
There is considerable risk taking a college arm with no professional innings, but the upside is absolutely here for Gilbert.
Round 24 (Pick 278): Rowdy Tellez, 1B, TOR
I know I just went on about grabbing high upside guys in the late rounds, but of course I contradicted myself by taking a safer pick in Round 24 with Toronto first baseman Rowdy Tellez. Tellez reached the big leagues last season after hitting .270 with 13 home runs at Triple-A. He hit .314 with four home runs in the show, although his 2.7% walk rate and 28.8% strikeout rate are certainly concerning.
Still, Tellez has good plate discipline numbers in the minor leagues, meaning those numbers should correct with more exposure in the big leagues. His calling card is his power, and with virtually no defensive abilities, he’ll need to hit to be anything more than a bench bat in the big leagues.
Tellez has the potential to be a .260 hitter with 25 to 30 home runs at first base, which I’ll happily snag in the next-to-last round.
Round 25 (Pick 299): Hans Crouse, RHP, TEX
Hans Crouse has crept onto a handful of top-100 lists this winter after 13 dominating starts this past season between short-season and Single-A. Armed with a 60-grade fastball and a potential plus-plus slider, Crouse posted a 62:19 K/BB ratio in 54.2 innings last season. A very funky delivery has many concerned that he will end up in the bullpen, but at 6’4″ and 180 lbs., I think the 20-year-old has some filling out to do, which should give him added durability and a chance to stick in the rotation.
I’m thrilled to take a guy at No. 299 overall who could end up plastered on top-100 lists as soon as next year.
Graphic by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter)